Wednesday, September 1, 2021
This New York Times article from last week took me a bit by surprise. Many Older Americans Still Aren’t Vaccinated, Making the Delta Wave Deadlier explains
The United States has a far higher share of seniors without full vaccine protection than many other wealthy countries, a key risk factor driving serious Covid-19 illness and death, a Times analysis shows.
As the Delta variant has torn across the country, America’s pace of vaccinations has sped up after months of relative stagnation, and full federal approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday could extend that momentum. Just over half of Americans are now fully vaccinated.
But national averages mask the high rate of older Americans who remain deeply vulnerable. Older people still account for most Covid-19 deaths, and in many counties, especially in the South and Mountain West, seniors without full vaccination make up more than 10 percent of the total population.
We know from the experiences of last year how deadly COVID can be to elders. And recent data proves this still to be true. "The Delta variant has hit many areas with clusters of vulnerable seniors particularly hard. Low elderly vaccination rates in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada have coincided with surging rates of hospitalization and death." There are still areas of high risk, without a current outbreak, according to the article. There are many reasons for vaccine hesitancy and whether the full FDA approval of Pfizer will move the needle (pun intended) remains to be seen. "Signing up older Americans for their first shot remains a struggle, public health experts say, as people who really wanted a vaccine have already gotten it. While getting to a vaccine provider may still be an issue for some, especially in more rural areas, many more people are resistant to immunization because of their politics and personal beliefs, and those of their friends and family."